Whitley - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

Princless Volume 1 #1
(The Princeless series)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by M. Goodwin
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
****+

DESCRIPTION: In a fairy-tale land, Princess Adrienne finds herself locked in a tower guarded by a dragon, just like her sisters. It's a tradition, after all, ensuring that only the worthiest, bravest suitors claim a royal bride. Adrienne, however, isn't the sort of princess to wait for rescue...
This issue includes the short bonus tale "Mr. Froggy," about the life of a reluctant princeling.

REVIEW: With shades of Shrek and Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, this clever send-up of fairy tale tropes is hilarious from start to finish. Adrienne's an outspoken, pro-active heroine, a dark-skinned counterpoint to the "fair maiden" stereotype. The story arc gets off to a good start, with shades of trouble on the horizon for the idealistic princess. The short story adds a male perspective, showing that the boys don't have it much easier than the girls when it comes to family expectations in a fairy tale world. I see that there's at least one compilation volume available; I'll have to track it down one of these days. (I read this issue via the library and Hoopla, a digital lending service.)

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

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Princless: Save Yourself
(The Princeless series, issues #1-#4)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by M. Goodwin
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
****+

DESCRIPTION: Princess Adrienne's parents have a bad habit of locking their daughters in monster-guarded towers, to ensure that only a heroic man ever will inherit the king's crown... but, to date, none have been rescued. That doesn't stop them from trying again with her - but she's not a typical princess, to wait for her Prince Charming. Not when she finds a sword in her tower and decides to become the hero she and her sisters need.
This collection includes the first four issues of the Princeless comics, following Adrienne's escape and first attempts at heroism.

REVIEW: I read (and reviewed) Issue #1 online a while ago, so I decided to buy the complete Volume 1. To be honest, I'd hoped for more than just four issues; it's a fun and fast tale, yet it still feels like it's just getting started, as Adrienne picks up her first allies and enemies - not to mention her first official suit of armor (that hasn't been scavenged from corpses outside her tower, that is.) Numerous tropes get poked at, from fairy tales to fantasy to video games and more, yet the storyline and characters still maintain their integrity. I suppose I'll have to read the next issues, or spring for Volume 2, now - I can't leave things hanging as they are.

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

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Princless: Get Over Yourself
(The Princeless series, issues #5-#8)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by Emily Martin
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
****

DESCRIPTION: Princess Adrienne, her loyal guardian dragon Sparky, and their new sidekick, the half-dwarf smith girl Belinda, set out on their first official rescue mission. Adrienne's sister Angelica is their first stop. Always the most beautiful in the family, surely she'll be grateful for Adrienne's intervention. But the plucky princess finds a few surprises on the way to the tower that she never imagined.
Meanwhile, Adrienne's father Ashe is determined to destroy the "dragon knight" whom he believes killed his daughter. He summons the seven bravest, boldest, and most eligible bachelor knights in the land: whoever succeeds will get the hand of the princess of their choosing. But King Ashe soon has a fresh problem on his hands, and a possible betrayal from his oldest and most trusted friend.

REVIEW: The story of Adrienne, the princess who rescued herself, continues, with new subplots sprouting as more people become affected by her decisiona. In this, her first true test of heroism and her first taste of the real world beyond her castle home and tower exile, she finds that reality doesn't always fit her expectations. Not everyone appreciates her efforts - least of all Angelica, who has turned her good looks into a cottage industry. Is she selling out to beauty standards and sexism, or is she using her gifts to empower herself... and does she really need rescuing, or will Adrienne's efforts destroy everything? The would-be heroine has a lot of growing up to do, as sheer indignation and a quick sword aren't always the best answer to every situation. Meanwhile, the knights promise future complications, as do the actions of Adrienne's mother and father.
On a technical level, a new artist takes over in these issues, doing a decent job maintaining the feel of the characters. The layout, though, sometimes gets confusing, as it cuts back and forth between various storylines a little too often. On the whole, it's still very enjoyable, and I still look forward to Volume 3.

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

Return to Top of Page - Return to Book Review List


Princless: The Pirate Princess
(The Princeless series, Volume 3)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by Rosy Higgens and Ted Brandt
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
****

DESCRIPTION: The would-be hero Princess Adrienne is en route to rescue one of her sisters when she and her companions, dragon Sparky and half-dwarf smith Bedelia, happen upon another girl locked in a tower. It isn't until after the rescue that they learn she's Raven Xingtao, daughter of Pirate King, long-time enemy of Adrienne's father Ashe and other nobles of the land. The princess's crusade takes an unexpected detour when Raven "borrows" Sparky for a personal project: tracking down the brothers who imprisoned her and usurped her rightful place as the Pirate King's heir.
This volume contains all four issues of the Pirate Princess sequence.

REVIEW: Raven stars in her own spin-off series after this adventure - and it's quite clear from the outset that she's being set up for her own stories. Indeed, she fairly bowls over most of the cast - even Adrienne - for a good portion of the book. It doesn't help that the new artists lean toward the pink end of the color palette. The hero princess still has a lot to learn about her chosen career, not to mention letting her anger and impulses get her into situations she can't easily get back out of. Raven, on the other hand, knows just what she's doing, merely lacking the means to obtain her goal... at least, until a helpful rescuer introduces her to a malleable lady dragon. After a bit of an uneven start, the tale wraps up in fine form, with a preview that tempts me to explore Raven's standalone adventures. It's more of a detour than a continuation of the Princeless story, but a reasonably entertaining one. I'm looking forward to getting back to Adrienne's quest in Volume Four, though.

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

Return to Top of Page - Return to Book Review List


Princless: Be Yourself
(The Princeless series, Volume 4)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by Emily Martin and Brett Grunig
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
*****

DESCRIPTION: With Raven back on the seas on her own quest, Princess Adrienne and her sidekicks head to the swamps to rescue Adrienne's middle sister, Angoisse. She was always the broody one, pining for boys she couldn't have and joy she'd never feel for the perpetual gloom of her soul... a real ball of sunshine and roses. But even as Adrienne and company fight their way through beasts and goblins and Sparky's patented crash-landings, Angoisse may have finally found the man of her dreams - if he's truly a man, and not a nightmare...
Meanwhile, in a last-ditch effort to make a "proper" man and future ruler out of his only son, King Ashe brings Devin to the place where the queen's carriage was ambushed by the possible-traitor Black Knight; maybe the anger will put some fire in the weak child's guts. But Devin doesn't think the evidence points to murder. The boy determines to set off on his own quest to find his mother - along with some unwanted help, the wolf-girl Kira.

REVIEW: With Volume 3 devoted to launching Raven's spinoff, I enjoyed getting back to Adrienne's quest. A hilarious, heart-filled adventure awaits in the swamps, as they cross paths with goblins and deal with swampland politics, with more surprises and snicker-worthy moments awaiting at Angoisse's tower. The dragon Sparky even gets a turn as heroine, loaned out to help the locals deal with a troublesome monster. As before, Adrienne's direct method of heroism isn't always the most effective, but she's learning, as are those around her. Back home, Devin finally gets a chance to come into his own. The new illustrators are nice, without the odd pink fetish from the previous issue. I'm looking forward to future installments.

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

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Princeless: Short Stories Volume 1
(The Princeless series)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by Various Artists
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Collection/Comics/Fantasy
***+

DESCRIPTION: This collection of short stories explores various characters from the Princeless comic series. Included are:
The Thing in the Dungeon - Young Adrienne and Devin find something strange in the castle dungeon.
The Merry Adventures of Young Prince Ash - The boy who would be king undertakes a bet to race through the beast- and elf-filled forest.
The Runaway Prince and The Girl with the Giveaway Ears - Thrown into the dungeon for failing to rescue Princess Adrienne, Prince Wilcome makes a new ally who may be more trouble than she's worth.
The Smiths - The history of Adrienne's half-dwarven sidekick Bedelia.
The Princess's New Clothes - After being "rescued" by Adrienne, the vain Princess Angelica wonders if she could do more with her life than simply look gorgeous.
Nightlight - Melancholy Princess Angoisse, abandoned in a tower in the middle of the swamps, meets a dashing young man with peculiar habits.
Waiting - The waitress Aisha seizes an opportunity when a pair of adventurers and the fugitives they seek arrive at her restaurant simultaneously.
Kira's First Hunt - The wolf-girl Kira participates in a pack initiation rite that takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn.
Girls Who Fight Boys - Adrienne and Bedilia rescue Raven from under righteous Sir Zachary's nose. (Previous reviewed as part of Princeless: Get Over Yourself).

REVIEW: Yes, I know it's been a rather Princeless-heavy review streak this month. I had a Barnes & Noble coupon to burn off... this is the last for a while, I swear. Anyway, this collection is a mixed bag. Some are interesting and fun, foreshadowing future developments in the series. A couple hint at possible spinoffs. But others seem oddly pointless, with little of the wit that makes the Princeless series so enjoyable. The changing artists also made it a little hard to track who was who, particularly in The Girl with the Giveaway Ears, and several of the wolves in Kira's tale were difficult to tell apart. Some images were tough to decipher for being so dark, as well. Overall, it's not bad, worth reading if you're following the series.

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

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Princless: Make Yourself, Part 1
(The Princeless series, Volume 5, part 1)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by Emily Martin, Brett Grunig, and Alex Smith
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
***+

DESCRIPTION: Princess Adrienne's quest to rescue the rest of her sisters takes her to the frozen mountains of the dwarves... an awkward homecoming for her sidekick, the half-dwarf girl Belinda. As Adrienne prepares for another fight, this time for the twins (locked up in twin towers in the mountains), she still struggles to find her own freedom, old attitudes and insecurities gnawing at her. Meanwhile, Belinda learns that her human mother, who ran out on the family after one too many drunken blows from her father, has not only visited the dwarves, but taken a job with the nearby monster farm - where Sparky the dragon was raised and trained.
Elsewhere in the land, young Prince Devin and his reluctant wolf-girl companion Kira have a fateful run-in with the escaped Prince Wilcome and his elven sort-of-friend/ fellow escapee Tempest. While hereditary enemies Kira and Tempest spar, the foursome join forces to track down the missing queen - but something very much wants to keep them from succeeding...

REVIEW: This volume lost a half-star on two counts - one for stretching, another for advertisements. The latter I can't blame on the story itself, though I found it very distracting to have multiple full-page ads tripping me up between segments. (Eleven ads, in one grueling stretch. I appreciate that advertising is necessary, and the comic/graphic novel industry is no exception, but really - eleven in a row? They couldn't have been broken up a bit?) The former issue of stretching, however, definitely infringed on my enjoyment. Some introspection by Adrienne is inevitable, as her journey helps her grow up, but at some point her tangents and conversations on the matter cross a line from relevant and intriguing to plot filler and outright stalling. Likewise, Belinda's subplot - dealing with anger over her runaway mother - clutters the pages... as do her many dwarven relatives, who were often hard to tell apart. Sparky's quest to find her roots inches forward, but all the padding knocks a reunion and revelation into Part 2... like Adrienne's rescue mission. (Cut a few of the ads, and maybe it wouldn't have needed a second volume to finish... but I digress.)
As for Prince Devin's story, I wasn't fond of Prince Wilcome in his last adventure (part of the Princeless short story compilation volume, reviewed previously), and I'm not much more interested in him now that he's been added as a regular; he comes across as too shallow and one-dimensional compared to the rest of the cast. I'm also not sure about Tempest. The whole quest to rescue the queen itself feels like plot stretching; any reader paying any bit of attention knows what happened, if not details of why, and the longer it drags out, the more tedious it grows.
The cast and storylines feel bloated, dragging out for the sake of dragging out, or maybe for ad sales given the concentration. (Eleven in a row... still can't get over that. I counted twice to be sure.) I expect I'll read the second part for some closure, but if the tale keeps distracting itself and meandering into tangents of minimal progression, I might call it a wrap on this series. It's still fun, but not as fun as it used to be.

You might also enjoy:
The Frog Princess (E. D. Baker, YA Fiction - A clumsy princess turns into a frog when she kisses an enchanted prince)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy sci-fi show meets aliens who believe it was real)
A Bad Spell in Yurt (C. Dale Brittain, Fiction - A barely-competent wizard takes a job with a small kingdom, only to discover an elusive evil force inhabiting his new home)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Throwaway Princess (Elinor Busby, YA Fiction - A princess is exiled for a physical deformity)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Princess Bride (William Goldman, Fiction - A father and son bond over the story of a beautiful princess, an evil prince, adventure, danger, and True Love)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A craven but clever goblin, captured and forced to guide a group of bickering adventurers, learns that heroism is highly overrated)
Cinder Edna (Ellen Jackson, YA Picture Book - Cinderella's neighbor, plain Cinder Edna, relies on brains and pluck rather than fairy magic)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, YA Fiction - A magical world is forced to put on "tours" for offworld visitors, recreating standard epic fantasy journeys)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tongue-in-cheek guide to epic fantasy)
The Piratica books (Tanith Lee, YA Fiction - In an alternate-history world, a teen girl sets out to become an honorable pirate queen)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Dragon Killer (Rob May, Fiction - A multitalented woman in a fantasy world investigates rumors of dragons on a remote island)
The Hero and the Crown (Robin McKinley, YA? Fiction - Denied her rightful crown due to prejudices about her foreign mother, a bold princess discovers a talent for slaying dragons)
The Bloody Jack adventures (L. A. Meyer, YA Fiction - To escape certain death on the streets, an 18th century London girl poses as a boy aboard a pirate-hunting warship)
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - Faced with an unwanted marriage, a young woman chooses to run away and become a mercenary soldier)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - A prince sets out to save the land with a helpful guide to practical heroics)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog curse, but demands a more handsome husband)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert N. Munsch, YA Picture Book - When a dragon kidnaps her boyfriend, a princess goes to rescue him)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Tortall quartets (Tamora Pierce, YA Fiction - Tales of adventure and strong heroines in a magical world)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, YA Comic - Five girls discover some weird, magical goings-on at their summer camp)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
Dragon's Bait (Vivian Van Velde, YA Fiction - Staked out as bait for a dragon after being accused of witchcraft, the girl and her would-be killer team up to exact vengeance)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - A princess in a fairy-tale land escapes her prim and proper world by running away to live among dragons)
Forever After (Roger Zelazny, creator, Fiction - After the war between Good and Evil, the magical artifacts that won the day must be scattered across the land)
Duncan & Mallory (Amazon link - A graphic novel created by the late Robert Asprin, starring a down-on-his-luck knight and a vegetarian dragon in a world of humorous fantasy)
Shrek (Widescreen) (2001 movie DVD - In a pop culture send-up of fairy tales, the ogre Shrek inadvertently becomes a hero)
Tangled (2010 movie DVD - Kidnapped for her magical hair and raised in a tower, Rapunzel longs to explore the world, forcing a lost rogue to act as her guide)

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